We are launching a public consultation to gather people’s views on the EU’s intermediary climate target for 2040, setting a path from our already-agreed 2030 targets to net-zero emissions by 2050. You can answer the public consultation here. It will run for twelve weeks, until 24 June 2023.
Why are we launching this public consultation? Climate change remains the defining challenge of the coming decades. Extreme weather events such as floods and droughts have become more intense and frequent in recent years. Our health is under threat, from the expansion of zoonotic diseases to heat-related mortality and illness. Substantial agricultural production losses are projected for most of Europe. All these consequences and more have tremendous economic costs. But through effective climate action we can ensure that Europe is resilient to climate change, and help to minimise it. And at the same time, the green transition presents many opportunities for Europe’s citizens and economy which we need to harness.
To put Europe firmly on a path towards a climate-neutral and sustainable future, the European Commission launched the European Green Deal in 2019. With the adoption of the European Climate Law in 2021, our target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 became legally binding, as did our 2030 target to cut emissions by at least 55%. The Climate Law also requires the European Commission to propose a 2040 climate target in 2024.
We need to create a predictable environment to guide citizens’, investment, and political decisions. While we are putting in place the regulatory framework for reaching our 2030 target, setting future intermediary targets on the way to climate neutrality by 2050 will provide predictability and help to keep track of our progress as well. That’s why the European Climate Law mandates the Commission to come forward with a climate target for 2040 following the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement. This target needs to be based on a thorough impact assessment and we’re starting the necessary analysis now.
The timing of the discussions for the 2040 EU climate target is closely linked to the Paris Agreement’s five-year ambition cycle. All Parties to the Agreement are expected to initiate reflections on the next target in the context of the UN process this year, with a view to communicate these ahead of the COP29 in 2025. In the EU, we want to make sure that all stakeholders are engaged and empowered to have their say.
2050 might still seem far away, but we’re not waiting until 2049 to start cutting emissions. In fact, we’ve already cut them by 30% since 1990. And the more we cut them now, the less greenhouse gas is added to the atmosphere. It ensures that the EU contributes to keeping temperature increases limited to 1.5C as called for by the Paris Agreement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and helps us reduce adverse effects of climate change. Now we want to gather opinions from both citizens and stakeholders. The consultation is split into two sections: a general section and an expert section. You can answer one or both, and you can also choose to skip questions. The general section takes around 25 minutes to answer. You can also submit position papers.
All the replies will be studied by the European Commission to support the reflection on the EU's emission reduction target for 2040. Specifically, the results of the public consultation will be analysed and summarised as part of a detailed impact assessment report. This report’s quality will be checked by an independent body, the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. The final assessment will also take into account the advice of the European Scientific Advisory Board set up under the European Climate Law and will be the basis for a Communication on the 2040 target assessment to be agreed by the College of Commissioners. EU Member States and the European Parliament will ultimately decide on the EU’s 2040 climate target.
Feel free to share the public consultation and share it on social media using the hashtag #EUHaveYourSay.
- Publication date
- 4 April 2023
- Directorate-General for Climate Action